1 Bitcoin = $433
Bitcoins Per Person
Total BTC / World Pop = 0.00205182
Given that a bitcoin currently cost $433, there are only enough bitcoins for every person to have $0.89 worth.
If bitcoins were distributed using the current global distribution of wealth, 99.9% of people would have $0.17 worth of bitcoins, and people in the top .001% would have 0.62 bitcoins each.
It might make sense just to get some in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. – Satoshi Nakamoto
The Best Papers on Bitcoin Money Supply / Volatility
- Bitcoin is the Best Unit of Account, Daniel Krawisz
- The Bitcoin Central Bank’s Perfect Monetary Policy, Pierre Rochard
Overstock.com SEC Approved to Issue Shares Using Bitcoin Blockchain
In a Form S-3 filed with the SEC on November 10, Overstock.com sought approval to issue up to $500 million in new securities “from time to time” in the form of common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, warrants, debt securities or units.
Overstock’s t0 (tee-zero) platform has been working on bringing equity trades and settlement to the blockchain since it was first announced in April 2015. In July, Overstock sold the first cryptobond on the blockchain. – Jacob Donnelly
Now oil prices in free fall, WTI approaching $35/bbl – JP Spinetto
The Big Shock Came From Fracking. The Next One Comes From Solar.
LED light bulbs, improved heating and cooling systems, and software systems in automobiles have gradually been increasing fuel efficiency over the past decades.
But the big shock to the energy industry came with fracking, a new set of techniques and technologies for extracting more hydrocarbons from the ground. Though there are concerns about environmental damage, these increased the outputs of oil and gas, caused the usurpation of old-line coal-fired power plants, and dramatically reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil.
The next shock will come from clean energy. Solar and wind are now advancing on exponential curves.
Every two years, for example, solar installation rates are doubling, and photovoltaic-module costs are falling by about 20 percent. Even without the subsidies that governments are phasing out, present costs of solar installations will, by 2022, halve, reducing returns on investments in homes, nationwide, to less than four years.
By 2030, solar power will be able to provide 100 percent of today’s energy needs.
By 2035, it will seem almost free — just as cell-phone calls are today.
This seems hard to believe, given that solar production provides less than one percent of the Earth’s energy needs today. But this is how exponential technologies advance. They double in performance every year or two and their prices fall.
Given that California already generates more than 5 percent of its electricity from utility-scale solar, it is not hard to fathom what the impact of another few doublings would be: the imminent extinction of the fossil-fuel industry.
Exponential technologies are deceptive because they move very slowly at first, but one percent becomes two percent, which becomes four, eight, and sixteen; you get the idea. As futurist Ray Kurzweil says, when an exponential technology is at one percent, you are halfway to 100 percent, and that is where solar and wind energies are now.
Anyone tracking the exponential growth of fracking and the gradual advances that were being made in conservation and fuel efficiency should have been able to predict, years ago, that by 2015, the price of oil would drop dramatically. It wasn’t surprising that relatively small changes in supply and demand caused massive disruptions to global oil prices; that is how markets work. – Vivek Wadhwa
COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS
Virtual Reality Vendors
benhuh: Street vendors selling virtual reality rides (Oculus) in Bogotá. It’s a modern world out here.
Pekka Oilinki: Interesting. The same is happening in Phuket, Thailand. This was 1 week ago.
World’s Biggest Drone Maker to Open First Flagship Store
DJI’s Shenzhen flagship store will showcase all DJI products, from high-end and entry-level drones to other gadgets like the Osmo robotic selfie stick.
DJI’s high-end professional drone, the Inspire 1, can cost more than $4,000 depending on the type of camera and other features, while its most affordable Phantom 2 drone costs about $500.
DJI’s latest move comes when the consumer drone market is expanding world-wide, while competition is intensifying from rivals offering low-cost products.
In May, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners invested $75 million in DJI, valuing the Shenzhen-based company at roughly $8 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported at that time.
In China, the drone market is still in its infancy, analysts and drone dealers say. Therefore, companies like DJI need to spend more on marketing to convince average shoppers to spend hundreds of dollars on drones.
According to DJI, part of the purpose of the new flagship store is to get more consumers who aren’t already familiar with drones to play with them and become interested. – Juro Osawa
Amazon Prime Air
As far-fetched as it sounds, the era of drones delivering packages is about to begin, according to Amazon.
The company released a new ad on YouTube showing controversial British TV host Jeremy Clarkson praising the benefits of Amazon’s still in-development drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air, along with an all new “hybrid” drone design that can switch between vertical and horizontal flight.
“A miracle of modern technologies,” Clarkson says, as the ad cuts to scenes of a father and mother using an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet to place an order for their daughter’s new soccer shoes using a new Amazon Prime Air button, which promises delivery in 30 minutes or less.
The new Amazon delivery drone rises vertically like a helicopter “to nearly 400 feet” before switching to horizontal flight orientation, “streamlined and fast,” like an airplane.
That altitude is no coincidence, as it’s what the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says is the upper limit for hobby aircraft, including drones. This friendliness with aerial regulation is new for Amazon; earlier this year, the company sparred with the FAA over delivery regulations.
Amazon, as well as Google and several other companies, were recently part of an FAA task force to figure out drone registration rules.
This new drone can fly for 15 miles straight, has automatic “sense and avoid” systems, and will be the first in a “whole family of Amazon drones, [with] different designs for different environments.” – Kelsey D. Atherton and Carl Franzen
Uber Obliterates Government Created Medallion Market
Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million (in New York), it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits.
There hasn’t been a single medallion sale in four months. They are on the verge of becoming scrap metal or collector’s items destined for eBay. – Jeffrey A. Tucker
Omniya Clinic, London
As technology evolves ever more rapidly, ultra high net worth individuals are turning their attention inward, investigating how to stall the ageing process, and spending serious money to load their dice against death.
‘I wanted to create a place that brings the newest advancements in medical and regenerative health to London,’ says co-founder Danyal Kader. He was so depressed by the difficulty of finding the best medical treatment for his father, who suffers from a heart condition, that he decided to create his own one-stop conduit to wellness.
To this end, he has brought together a team of leading specialists who analyse the health of their clients in the most minute and sophisticated detail — a kind of space-age human MOT.
One of these is cellular ageing specialist Dr Mark Bonar. As his title suggests, Bonar is passionate about the very specific degradations that happen in the cells of the body as we age — and still more excited about the new ways he can use to slow such deterioration. Consider, for example, telomeres.
‘Telomeres are the caps on the ends of our DNA,’ Bonar explains. ‘A bit like the plastic on the end of a shoe lace, they prevent the ends from fraying. By measuring their length in the lab we can determine how well the body is ageing’ — for instance, if at 30, you show the wear and tear you’d expect in a 40-year-old. ‘The length can also inform you about your risk of various kinds of disease such as breast or bowel cancer.’
More dramatically, Bonar continues, a product has been patented — it has been around in the States since 2011 — called TA-65, which can rebuild your telomeres, pausing this process central to ageing.
In fact, by making the telomere length longer, you can actually make cells ‘younger’, he argues. In one study, fruit flies given TA-65 doubled their life expectancy, while another study on rats discovered that the risk of them developing certain cancers fell by some 30 per cent. And yes, Bonar can prescribe it for you, in a capsule or a cream.
Telomeres are, however, only one part of the therapy. If you suffer from low energy, Bonar might look to the functioning of your mitochondria — the cell powerhouses that produce energy; or glycation, typically the result of sugar molecules bonding to protein, which makes your blood more ‘gloopy’ and your cells more brittle and liable to break down.
He might also consider using artificial means, such as the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), to stimulate cell reproduction. HGH usually peaks in our twenties and then declines; as well as making you feel like you’ve only just turned 21, it will also give you better hair, skin, nails and tremendous energy.
All these developments are just the beginning. With Google running Calico (the California Life Company), focusing on health, wellbeing and longevity, and hedge funder Joon Yun offering $1 million to anyone who can ‘hack the code of life’ (‘restore the homeostatic capacity of an ageing reference mammal to that of a young adult’ — ie, stop us from getting old), the fountain of youth might soon start flowing for real. – Rebecca Newman
PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET
Bitcoin Wallet Privacy Threat Model
An updated version of our threat model is on GitHub: Open Bitcoin Privacy Project Threat Model
When Computers Dematerialize into Everyday Objects
Moore’s Law Endures Even After 50 Years
Mixed messages from Intel about Moore’s law. Mark Bohr, senior fellow, says it’s alive and well. – Calum Chace
Moore’s Law might be winding down in observable ways, but that realization will not keep Intel from putting its maintenance on the front burner. It has been throwing a lot of core hours behind the engineering effort for the forthcoming 10 nanometer process, and is burning a lot of compute on solving the challenges that lie ahead on the path to 5 nanometers.
Although the company’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, has publicly stated that Moore’s Law is slowing in the wake of the company’s decision to push back availability on their ten nanometer chips by six months this summer, some at the company are fighting the idea that the continued, decades-long upticks in regular performance will end anytime soon.
The key to keeping pace with Moore’s Law is working with the upcoming extreme ultraviolet technology (EUV), which will reduce the wavelength range necessary to move circuit designs onto silicon via masks, as well as a shift to 450-millimeter wafers within the next few years.
As it stands now, too many hurdles with EUV stand in the way for it to push the 10 nanometer chips, but Intel is expecting this to change for future generations—including five nanometer (since they are skipping their former plans to move into full production with seven nanometer on EUV, according to TSMC’s CEO in an investor call over the summer).
It is no secret that the company is aggressively pursuing the five nanometer course, but according to Mark Bohr, Intel senior fellow in the Intel processor technology team, Moore’s Law is alive and well—and the momentum with five nanometer is a testament to that fact.
“We continue to scale transistors, and each generation provides transistors that are higher performance, consume less active power, and cost less per transistor.” Bohr still strongly believes, despite the fact that Krzanich said the trajectory of production, which used to be on the order of two years, is closer to two and a half.
I used to say that this is the most important graph in all the technology business. I’m now of the opinion that this is the most important graph ever graphed. – Steve Jurvetson, DFJ Venture Capital
Bohr has seen the struggle play before. Recall that similar lithographic challenges stood in the way of Intel rolling out the 14 nanometer chips. In fact, he has seen a good part of the course of Moore’s Law from inside Intel longer than almost anyone inside the company. Bohr has been with Intel for a striking 37 years, and still sees the way forward despite the admitted host of roadblocks.
At some point, the number of tricks at ever-smaller scale will come to an end, spurring a new, unseen shift toward other processor technologies, but for now, Intel is hard at work simulating the materials and lithography problems of continued shrinks.
All of this comes at a significant cost across the board within Bohr’s five nanometer group, including on the computational side. As Bohr shared during this year’s annual Supercomputing Conference (SC15) in Austin last week, they are lighting up the cores on their own #99 ranked on the Top 500 November 2015 list) 833 teraflop Haswell-based HP supercomputer to continue the fight against the Moore’s Law decline.
Back in summer, 2015, the company’s Bill Holt, VP and GM of the Technology and Manufacturing group told investors that although the 14-nanometer process was behind schedule and projections at first, it has caught up with expectations, but Intel is keenly aware that the 22-nanometer process struck a sweet spot.
“Our 22-nanometer technology is the highest yielding technology we’ve ever had. The bar that we’re trying to catch up to there is very high. That’s essential, because if you’re to get cost reduction, you have to match those other parameters of your previous generation.”
“We’ll always strive to get Moore’s Law back in two years,” said Brian Krzanich during Intel’s Q2 investor call in 2015. “And we’ll take a look at the maturity of EUV and the maturity of the material science changes that are occurring, the complexity of the product roadmap that we’re adding, and make that adjustment out in the future.” – Nicole Hemsoth
Quantum Entanglement Achieved at Room Temperature in Semiconductor Wafers
My dream tech – entanglement-driven, unlimited distance, instantaneous network communication – is one step closer. – Daniel
Entanglement is one of the strangest phenomena predicted by quantum mechanics, the theory that underlies most of modern physics. It says that two particles can be so inextricably connected that the state of one particle can instantly influence the state of the other, no matter how far apart they are.
Just one century ago, entanglement was at the center of intense theoretical debate, leaving scientists like Albert Einstein baffled. Today, however, entanglement is accepted as a fact of nature and is actively being explored as a resource for future technologies including quantum computers, quantum communication networks, and high-precision quantum sensors.
Entanglement is also one of nature’s most elusive phenomena. Producing entanglement between particles requires that they start out in a highly ordered state, which is disfavored by thermodynamics, the process that governs the interactions between heat and other forms of energy. This poses a particularly formidable challenge when trying to realize entanglement at the macroscopic scale, among huge numbers of particles.
“The macroscopic world that we are used to seems very tidy, but it is completely disordered at the atomic scale. The laws of thermodynamics generally prevent us from observing quantum phenomena in macroscopic objects,” said Paul Klimov, a graduate student in the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering and lead author of new research on quantum entanglement.
Klimov and other researchers in David Awschalom’s group at the Institute for Molecular Engineering have demonstrated that macroscopic entanglement can be generated at room temperature and in a small magnetic field.
In the short-term, the techniques used here in combination with sophisticated devices enabled by advanced SiC device-fabrication protocols could enable quantum sensors that use entanglement as a resource for beating the sensitivity limit of traditional (non-quantum) sensors.
Given that the entanglement works at ambient conditions and the fact that SiC is bio-friendly, one particularly exciting application is biological sensing inside a living organism.
“We are excited about entanglement-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging probes, which could have important biomedical applications,” said Abram Falk of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and a co-author of the research findings.
In the long term, it might even be possible to go from entangled states on the same SiC chip to entangled states across distant SiC chips. Such efforts could be facilitated by physical phenomena that allow macroscopic quantum states, as opposed to single quantum states (in single atoms), to interact very strongly with one another, which is important for producing entanglement with a high success rate.
Such long-distance entangled states have been proposed for synchronizing global positioning satellites and for communicating information in a manner that is fundamentally secured from eavesdroppers by the laws of physics.- Phys.org
D-Wave: The Quantum Computing Era Has Begun
Geordie Rose is a founder and CTO of D-Wave. He is known as a leading advocate for quantum computing and physics-based processor design
Founded in 1999, D-Wave Systems is the world’s first quantum computing company. Our mission is to integrate new discoveries in physics, engineering, manufacturing, and computer science into breakthrough approaches to computation that help solve some of the world’s most complex challenges.
Despite the incredible power of today’s supercomputers, there are many complex computing problems that can’t be addressed by conventional systems. Our need to better understand everything, from the universe to our own DNA, leads us to seek new approaches to answer the most difficult questions.
While we are only at the beginning of this journey, quantum computing has the potential to help solve some of the most complex technical, commercial, scientific, and national defense problems that organizations face. We expect that quantum computing will lead to breakthroughs in science, engineering, modeling and simulation, financial analysis, optimization, logistics, and national defense applications.
Today D-Wave is the recognized leader in the development, fabrication, and integration of superconducting quantum computers. Our systems are being used by world-class organizations and institutions including Lockheed-Martin, Google, NASA, and USC. D-Wave has been granted over 110 US patents and has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals.
In 2010 we released our first commercial system, the D-Wave One™ quantum computer. We have doubled the number of qubits each year, and in 2013 we shipped our 512-qubit D-Wave Two™ system. In 2015 we announced general availability of the 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X™ system. – D-Wave
Rose’s Law for Quantum Computers Keeps Marching On
[Update in 2015: the hardware curve that is “Rose’s Law” (blue diamonds) remains on track. The software and performance/qubit (red stars, as applied to certain tasks) is catching up, and may lag by a couple years from the original prediction overlaid onto the graph] – Steve Jurvetson
When I first met Geordie Rose in 2002, I was struck by his ability to explain complex quantum physics and the “spooky” underpinnings of quantum computers. I had just read David Deutsch’s Fabric of Reality  where he predicts the possibility of such computers, and so I invited Rose to one of our tech conferences.
We first invested [in D-Wave] in 2003 , and Geordie predicted that he would be able to demonstrate a two-bit quantum computer within 6 months.
There was a certain precision to his predictions. With one bit under his belt, and a second coming, he went on to suggest that the number of qubits in a scalable quantum computing architecture should double every year. It sounded a lot like Gordon Moore’s prediction back in 1965, when he extrapolated from just five data points on a log-scale.
So I called it “Rose’s Law” and that seemed to amuse him. Well, the decade that followed has been quite amazing.
So, how do we read the graph above?
Like Moore’s Law, a straight line describes an exponential. But unlike Moore’s Law, the computational power of the quantum computer should grow exponentially with the number of entangled qubits as well. It’s like Moore’s Law compounded. (D-Wave just put together an animated visual of each processor generation in this video, bringing us to the present day.)
And now, it gets mind bending. If we suspend disbelief for a moment, and use D-Wave’s early data on processing power scaling (more on that below), then the very near future should be the watershed moment, where quantum computers surpass conventional computers and never look back. Moore’s Law cannot catch up.
A year later, it outperforms all computers on Earth combined.
Double qubits again the following year, and it outperforms the universe. What the???? you may ask… Meaning, it could solve certain problems that could not be solved by any non-quantum computer, even if the entire mass and energy of the universe was at its disposal and molded into the best possible computer. It is a completely different way to compute — as David Deutsch posits — harnessing the refractive echoes of many trillions of parallel universes to perform a computation.
First the caveat (the text in white letters on the graph). D-Wave has not built a general-purpose quantum computer. Think of it as an application-specific processor, tuned to perform one task — solving discrete optimization problems.
This happens to map to many real world applications, from finance to molecular modeling to machine learning, but it is not going to change our current personal computing tasks. In the near term, assume it will apply to scientific supercomputing tasks and commercial optimization tasks where a heuristic may suffice today, and perhaps it will be lurking in the shadows of an Internet giant’s data center improving image recognition and other forms of near-AI magic. In most cases, the quantum computer would be an accelerating coprocessor to a classical compute cluster.
There is also the question of the programming model. Until recently, programming a quantum computer was more difficult than machine coding an Intel processor. Imagine having to worry about everything from analog gate voltages to algorithmic transforms of programming logic to something native to quantum computing (Shor and Grover and some bright minds have made the occasional mathematical breakthrough on that front).
With the application-specific quantum processor, D-Wave has made it all much easier, and with their forthcoming Black Box overlay, programming moves to a higher level of abstraction, like training a neural network with little understanding of the inner workings required.
In any case, the possibility of a curve like this begs many philosophical and cosmological questions about our compounding capacity to compute… the beginning of infinity if you will.
While it will be fascinating to see if the next three years play out like Rose’s prediction, for today, perhaps all we should say is that it’s not impossible. And what an interesting world this may be. – Steve Jurvetson, October 2012
The Watershed Moment: Quantum Computer Announcement from Google
Boom! Google just announced their watershed results in quantum computing using their D-Wave Two.
It is rare to see a 100,000,000x leap in computing power… at least in this universe! =)
From the D-Wave board meeting today, I learned that it cost Google $1m to run the massive computation on their classic computers. The SA and QMC (classic computers) data points cost $1m of energy, and the green curve totally choked on large problem sets (that’s why there are no green data points in the top right). The D-wave computer operating cost was well over 100x less.
Has there ever been a leap forward like this in human history? (in any thing, like computing, energy processing, transportation… I am guessing there have purely algorithmic advances of this magnitude, but having trouble thinking of a single advance of this scale) – Steve Jurvetson, December 2015
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